Ramble Across the Sky

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Even on the most blustery day, the mountains are steady

Learn the lessons of the wind and earth

Walk between the two

Let your breath ramble across the sky

Let your body feel the slow pulse of the land, the cool solidity of stone

Learn to be weightless and grounded

To be pulled and anchored

Learn to live between the two

to be achingly alive and free

Beauty Explains Nothing

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sunset, friday night

“Beauty can both shout and whisper, and still / it explains nothing.”

—Mary Oliver, “Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way” from Felicity

These lines caught me immediately.  I’ve been rolling them around on my tongue for days, though part of me wants to erase the second half and still, it explains nothing.  Until this morning, I couldn’t tell you why, exactly, I wanted these words gone, except I didn’t understand what she meant; I wanted to say back, yes, beauty can explain everything.

And then this morning, I read this from Thich Nhat Hanh’s How to Sit

“If you ask a child, ‘Why are you eating chocolate?’ The child would likely answer, ‘Because I like it.’  There’s no purpose in eating the chocolate.  Suppose you climb a hill and stand on top to look around.  You might feel quite happy standing on the hill.  There’s not a reason for doing it.  Sit in order to sit.  Stand in order to stand.  There is no goal or aim in sitting.  Do it because it makes you happy.”

There is no purpose.  There is no goal or aim.  Do it because it makes you happy.  And yet, beneath this is the understanding that the meaning is in the mindfulness.  That beauty or action alone explains nothing.  That they are not, in fact, trying to explain anything anyway.

Amidst the industry and utility of this world, I easily forget the simplicity of being.

I forget that we aren’t meant to explain so much as to experience.

Beauty has its way of catching us and bringing us into presence.  Beauty has its way of bringing us beyond the explanation and into the heart of experience.  And so beauty has no duty to explain.  And neither do I, except to tell you what I’ve learned:

Beneath beauty is breath.

You don’t have to explain anything.  Just breathe.  Do it because it makes you happy.

The Wildness and the Wild

4/6/2016

6:12 am — A periwinkle sky, soft and bright and so translucent it seems to levitate above the mountains.  Which of course it always does, but only now do I see just how the horizon is born from light.

6:22 am — The sky drifts into pastels, pink and peach.  Waylon sleeps curled next to me as I read, and I think I am happy, content, peaceful, except none of these words are right.  It’s something quieter, deeper, something nameless that fills me.

It eases the urgency of doing.

6:32 am — The light has cascaded from the sky onto the mountains themselves.

The mountains are like a farm woman: strong, steady, curves around the muscles.  Sometimes they’re merely noticed, but eventually truly seen, causing the observer to stop and breathe in the beauty, the wildness, the stateliness, the pure bedrock of life at once tangled and ordered; a being large enough to hold contradictions and surprises and still offer comfort in the sheer mass of her embrace.

When I hold my son, I imagine the mass of the mountains in my hug.

When I hold my son, I feel his energy and I realize how much slower I’ve become.  How motherhood necessitates that.  How the wind, which once directed me, now flows through him.  How I’ve come into conversation with the roots of trees.  How I’ve learned to match the pace of mountains.

He is the wildness.  I am the wild.

When I hold my son, I realize I have become a home.

6:38 — He sleeps.  I write.  The light pours down the mountainside.

In another few hours it will reach the west-facing hillside and be upon us all.

Searching for Wildness

{In celebration of National Poetry Month, I’ll be posting a poem each weekday through the rest of April, and I invite you to join me!  Leave a link to your poem of the day in the comments section below.}

bark

I am searching for wildness,

proving it lives

among us

despite us.

Why do I walk slowly

in the woods, why

do I stop at the rhythmic beating

of a woodpecker, why

do I pause to take in the shape

of a leaf, or a paw print, or the

curve and drop of a stream?

Terry Tempest Williams wrote:

the degree of our awareness

is the degree of our aliveness.

I want to be alive.

If I am to live,

if my cells are to awaken

and if my breath is to expand

into my lungs

it will be because wildness

pulled me out of sleep,

splashed me with cold water,

and poured wind through

my hair, into my mouth,

deep into my body.

If I am to live

it will be because this world

also lives

tangled and pure, wildness running

through the veins.

For the Birds

{In celebration of National Poetry Month, I’ll be posting a poem each weekday through the rest of April, and I invite you to join me!  Leave a link to your poem of the day in the comments section below.}
 
In Flight, Katie Spring
 
I used to care
about proper grammar–
well vs. good
I vs. me–
but now, what does it matter?
I know what you mean.
There are already
so many rules
what shackles need to be
on expression?
None!
Sometimes, when I hear
birdsong in the morning
it strikes me that I don’t know
what they are saying,
but I feel their happiness.
That’s all we’re really after,
isn’t it?
To share with each other
our heart’s fire
be it sadness, or anger,
or expounding joy.

Twenty-One Months

{In celebration of National Poetry Month, I’ll be posting a poem each weekday through the rest of April, and I invite you to join me!  Leave a link to your poem of the day in the comments section below.}

spring stream

Twenty-one months–

that’s all it took

to bring us to this moment.

And just as it delivered us here,

impermanence will take us away

to tomorrow.

Take These Eggs

{In celebration of National Poetry Month, I’ll be posting a poem each weekday through the rest of April, and I invite you to join me!  Leave a link to your poem of the day in the comments section below.}

eggs

Kindling sets flames to lick
the firebox
a cast iron skillet
takes the heat,
holds it in its open face,
and I crack the egg.
 
Just yesterday I threw compost
out to the chickens,
and the matted roots
of harvested pea shoots,
green stems sticking up
like stubble.
 
Somehow the earth
is thawing—melting
snow sets rivers running
through the field
and the chickens peck
emerging worms in the barnyard.
 
We all have creation inside us
 
The chickens, they take worms and compost,
turn it into muscle and eggs.
Me, I take these deep golden
yolks, thick and smooth, into my mouth
I turn them into muscle and milk
to feed my babe
and he, too grows:
 
supple skin stretches
over elongating bones
teeth cut through gums
even his voice
rises and shifts—
an audible, intangible
creation.
 
He does not know yet
of spring
how thin blades of grass cut
through winter’s kill
how green spreads like a wave
from the valley up this hillside,
how the lone call of the raven
is replaced by chickadees, robins, hermit thrush, and
the reverberating howl of the snipe.
 
He knows of the barnyard,
of chickens and eggs,
of warm milk.
He knows of cool mornings,
hot stoves.
 
And what do I know of creation?
Only that I cannot explain it,
though morning sun streams
through the window,
though steam rises slowly from my tea
though even in stillness
everything moves, pushing us into
transformation
 
 
(I originally posted this almost exactly a year ago, and this season pulled me back to the poem).

What My Life Is

{In celebration of National Poetry Month, I’ll be posting a poem each weekday through the rest of April, and I invite you to join me!  Leavea link to your poem of the day in the comments section below.}

I can tell you I am a mother,

a farmer, a writer

but these definitions do not tell you

the quality of my breath

or depth of my laugh

or the hard pulse of my longings.

I’ve met challenges

in every phase, and for so long

I equated what I’m doing with

what my life is.

But the truth is

life is movement, energy–

rain falling to the earth

fire burning in the stove

bodies warming each other

beneath the blankets.

susnet over Dumpling Hill

Spring Peepers Rejoice!

{In celebration of National Poetry Month, I’ll be posting a poem each weekday through the rest of April, and I invite you to join me!  Leave a link to your poem of the day in the comments section below.}

Last night spring peepers

sang, the pluck-pluck of their notes

rising into night

finally bridging

late winter to spring, each note

rejoicing in mud

frog in rice paddy, summer 2012
frog in rice paddy, summer 2012

Hand, Rock and Moss

{In celebration of National Poetry Month, I’ll be posting a poem each weekday through the rest of April, and I invite you to join me!  Leave a link to your poem of the day in the comments section below.}

Hand, rock and moss, you

Show me again: each part of

This world is alive